Saturday, February 27, 2010

For Coda (Title: Old Souls, Old Bones)

Winter settles in
sinking deep into their bones,
and they begin to seek
warmth

They curl beneath lamps,
crawl under covers,
lie in the middle of their packs
drawing warmth from others.

But the cold has crept
into the very marrow
of their ancient bones.

It calls out to them,
drawing them into
the frigid frozen world,
the stillness of newly fallen snow.

They are old and weary.
Too many winters have come and gone,
too many cold moonless nights
stretch before the heat of summer
yet to come.

Same calls to Same.

They hear the call
quietly at first,
them more urgently.
On world weary legs
they venture forth
one more time.

Into the forest where it is
dark
quiet
calm
and welcoming.

They yield to its embrace.

Now. They know it is time.

This is why their bodies have cooled.
So they can lie down amidst the dead leaves,
the slumbering, dormant trees,
and rest at last
letting their souls slip away
like a wisp of fog.

Released from a weary body
they join Orion
to hunt with all the spirit animals
gone before them;
To run free and fast
a shooting star on the darkest night.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Merry go round and round and round...

Lately I have been alternating between peace and pain.

Losing Buddy Love the cat was somehow both. I am grateful to have had a cat for over 21 years. He helped me through many a bad night, purring me to sleep. Anyone who has not had a beloved pet for so long may not understand the role he played in my life. He had become a touchstone; someone solid, dependable and always there. Unlike humans though, he was never judgmental, cruel or mean. I wish he could have held out longer but it somehow seems selfish to wish that. In human years he would have been about 154 years old...
Making the decision to let him go, to spare him suffering was both painful and yet peaceful.
There is something about death that does not frighten me. I have seen in so many times in so many variations that I don't fear it. It is only one breath away at any given moment. Death is peaceful, its life that is so hard. It is in life that we struggle and fight and grasp, death is just letting go, releasing and changing...

Age and loss are on my mind lately. I turn 50 next week. I am not where I expected to be at age 50. I do not feel like a person turning 50. I am definitely not 15 years from retirement!!!

I had many hopes and dreams for this milestone. One I will achieve. I will have my LCSW before the year is out. That has been a goal even before I entered grad school and started on my Masters.

But other things I imagined aren't there. It feels a bit like a loss, these dreams that didn't come true. As John Lennon said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." So I go on, entering a decade where I wonder what will happen.

For almost two years my life has been in flux. So much is out of my control. Control is an illusion it seems after all. There are days when I am peaceful, things are going well, and I realize in spite of everything, for this moment I am happy.
Then there are days that I realize that a broken heart can just keep on breaking into smaller and smaller pieces...

The worst thing about realizing, truly understanding that I am middle aged is seeing that my family is getting older. While Death doesn't frighten me, Loss does. I am so scared of losing the people and creatures I love. Having experienced the loss of loved ones, I know what it will be like, I know I will survive, I know I will go on. But I also know I will ache for them. I will miss them, cry many tears, experience pain. Yet it is worth it to have had these people, these animals in my life. I don't want to dwell on the loss but it keeps popping into my head. Mortality seems so fleeting. I know new people will come into my life even as others leave it. Life has a way of balancing, eventually. But its that interim where the scales swing wildly from peace to pain that I detest. I wish I knew how better to survive it.

Life isn't really a circle at all. Its more of a spiral where we cross the same event but at different times and with different people...
So while I will go a few more rounds on the merry go round of life, I realize I will pass pain eventually, that peace will come, that change is inevitable...
I just need to hold on and stay on the ride until it ends.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

( Redemption ~ Peter At Dawn)

I ,
as bad as they come,
came
to know Him.
He loved me.
Always.
Totally.
Without reserve.
I loved Him,
with reservation.
I denied Him
not once
but thrice
and yet,
He loved me still.
I watched
as He died
reeking of sweat and blood
and the sharp vinegar
offered to slake His thirst
Salt formed on His cheeks
from tears
shed for me.
For me?
He died for me...
In an instant
I came to know Him.
and I love him
and I deny him
no more.
Salvation,
Redemption
are mine.
Because I,
as bad as they come,
came to know Him.

Acrostic for God...

LIGHT:

Love
Inside/outside
God
Holiness
Trust

Amen,
Brother!
Can you see me?
Don’t let me fall!
Even if I pull away...
Father forgive me.
God have mercy.
Heaven help me.
Inside~outside
Juxtaposition of
Kindness and
Love:
Meaness,
Nasty comments.
Outside, looking in.
Peering in
Questioning my logic,
Resisting my
Soul.
Teach me O Lord.
Use me O Lord.
Vanity all is vanity
X-stacy ... I want
Your
Zeal.

Trust in Jesus.
Reach for a hand.
Use me O Lord.
Save me, my soul is
Thirsty for your light.

TRUST...

Glimpse

The earth shuddered
the skies swirled
in arcing
celestial patterns.

I fell to the ground
awe stricken
as the heavens danced
and Time ceased to be
Wisdom and knowledge
poured forth
and in an instant
I sought
and lost it all.

The universe was righted.
I stood
a mortal speck
in the vastness
of God.

Cage of bone

Here in this cage of bone,
the first sound may have been
laughter;
Booming around
rocking my world
a giddy roller coaster ride
in darkest warmth.
Or perhaps initially
it was the rhythm of a shared pulse
hers linked with mine.
We breathed and lived
as one - not quite two;
but soon.

I hope the first sound
wasn’t crying,
deep mournful breaths
fueling sobs and hiccups,
jarring me
agitating the sea
to tempest fury.

I cannot remember when
I first heard Life beckoning
Waking me
arousing my senses
Luring me to its siren song…

But it called,
Pushing through
the muffled layers
of flesh and bone and fluid
Parting my life
from hers.

Creating desire
within me
to follow the song
to not only see
but hear
and taste
and feel
the world
out on my own.

Perhaps
I did not hear with my ear.
Perhaps
I heard with my heart.

The first initial sound
must have been
the Breath of God
gently breathing
Life into my
Soul.

Act of the Apostle (Lenten Meditations)


jesu

In the darkness, sleeping in a temple of vines and leaves,
They lie, innocent, unaware of impending doom.
I feel it breathing down my neck.
it’s laughter low and insistent.
The fetid breath sour, hot, caressing my flesh...
I am not afraid.
My life was never my own.
My very breath & blood were for others.
Now my job is nearly done.
My fate sealed by the One.
I glance at them, sleeping, chests rising, falling, gently,
gently they lie.
In a foolish human moment, I wish to be one with them.
One with my own life, one with my own soul.
But no, that is not my destiny.
My fate was plotted long before my birth.
Before I was even formed in the womb.
Written from the beginning of time,
I cannot change the inevitable.
I cannot slow the deed.
I must embrace Death, so that all others may have Life.
I must answer to a will other than my own.

juda
Startled, I awaken.
What sound pulled me from slumber?
Cautiously I peer into the blackness.
Surely it is not yet time...
No. They are sleeping. All but Him.
He is quiet.
He prays on ...asking...
What?
Forgiveness? For a life conceived without sin?
Wisdom? He who embodies the mind of God?
Does he know, I wonder,
that I am the one?
The one they will call betrayer...
I am as powerless as he to change destiny.
I did not want this life, this duty.
I was called to give up my Self.
I too was cast and must play the act
until the bitter end.
For 30 pieces of silver I sold my soul.
For 30 pieces of silver I accepted finally,
fearfully,
regretfully
my Role.


jesu
It is morning.
The sun breaks the horizon line.
Hot and sultry
a gleaming disk
lighting the final act of the passion play.
I rise to face them.
They stand away.
Frightened. Unsure. Angry. Menacing. Mourning.
With a slight smile He steps forward.
The devils of a thousand lives gleam within his eyes.
The gentle clink of coins as he walks
plays a vengeful, grievous tune.
His hands grasp my shoulders as he pulls me to him.
Slowly his lips press mine.
His is the breath of hell, fetid ,hot.
The rank air of a dark sealed tomb.
I look at him eyes serpent cold and glittering.
“Peace my teacher” hisses from his lips...
Nausea, I am fighting fear, I am human,
I am afraid Father!
I am just a man. Please...
Please!
But no.
It is time.
Your will, not mine be done.
I must go on.
I must conclude.
I am MAN.
I am ready.
“Peace, my brother” I whisper
knowing it will never be his.
I turn and walk forward
from the arms of man.
Into the heart of God.

In the Desert (Lenten Meditations)

Luke 4: 1-13

Alone in the desert
a scorpion appeared at my feet
small but deadly
yet it sought refuge
in my shadow.
I sat watching
as it grew and took a new form;
shedding its carapace
to reveal a body
like my own,
skin the color of mine,
clothing of linen and flax,
finer than my tattered robe.
He stood before me
emerging from hunger,
from folly
or fantasy or fear.
He held bread for the taking
if only
I would forsake You.
I knew I lived not by bread alone.
I chose you.
He lead me to the lofty dome
where all the world to see
lay before us.
Again, mine for the taking
if only I would forsake you.
Castles, kingdoms, dominions,
but I chose you.
He said to me
“This one you choose
will he save you? Jump, if he is real
you will not fall!”
I left his side. I walked away.
He was no more than a insect,
a scorpion beneath my heel,
powerless,
because I chose you.
Eloi, I chose you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life goes on...

Today I finally ventured out after several days of hibernating and hiding from the snow.

I held my girls group, met a client at his psychiatric appointment and basically tried to get my life back in order after losing Buddy Love.

It seems strange not to hear his trill or meeps after over 21 years of living with him.
I keep looking for his black and white figure to stroll through the living room, heading to drink water out of his little blue glass we always kept on the edge of the tub just for him.

The other animals are mourning in their way. Kizzie has taken to sleeping beside Jake the insane clown puppy, obviously indicating she has lost her mind to grief!

Mo actually is handling it better than I thought. Buddy raised Mo from an 8 week old kitten for 15 years. They washed each others' faces and ears, slept side by side, ate side by side and were the most bonded of any of my cats. Mo has wandered around calling a few times, and today I found him sleeping in Buddy's fleece chair. I think Mo knew Buddy was dying. The last few weeks, he stayed by Buddy's side more, sat by him while Buddy ate and followed Bud to the litter boxes. I believe Mo was watching over Buddy and helping him ease out of this life...

The morning I took Buddy to the vet, I didn't know we would be euthanizing him. I think I was just in denial. But after talking with the vet, I knew in my heart what we had to do. Bob showed up while the doc was running a short kidney function test, thus sparing me making the decision alone. In spite to the pain I was feeling, I knew Buddy was ready to go. He was tired. He was struggling to stay alive, he had just stopped eating the day before.

I have an unspoken rule with my sick cats, the day they don't eat their sardines is the day I know its over...

Buddy came to me one Christmas in Brooklyn. He was just a year old and had been living on the streets. My friend Bernadette asked me if I wanted a cat, telling me there was a handsome one hanging out on her porch but he was skittish. If we could catch him she told me I could have him. We walked over together and there he was, sitting in a sunbeam.

"That's him" she said and at that moment he looked at me, trotted over and began twining around my ankles... this skittish cat picked me. I took him home after Bernadette shoved him in a box. He hid under the bed and I crawled under after him. He cuddled up next to me and began to purr; a purr that I fell asleep to almost every night for 21 years.

Buddy traveled to Charleston SC with me and the hubster when we worked the Spoleto festival. At first he liked living on the beach, until fleas took over the house, specifically the ugly shag carpeting. Then he and his first cat friend, Ms. Uh Huh started living on tops of the cabinets. It was several months before we could get Buddy to walk on carpeting again. He would walk the edges or leap from one piece of furniture to another. He learned that biting things lived in carpet and did not like it at all...

Buddy loved women with English accents. Our upstairs neighbor in Brooklyn was from England and he was totally smitten. Buddy Love would spend hours rubbing his cheek on her toes. If I couldn't find him, I would call Laurie and ask if she had Buddy. Inevitably he would be hanging out with her gazing adoringly at her feet.

Buddy had a quietness and steadiness that hid his daring appetite. Buddy once stole a Tandoori chicken leg from my plate when I went to get a refill of my drink. My BB2 fed him pepper cheese and Buddy loved it. Buddy also ate pinto beans once, that was the night we deemed him King of the purr and poot. He loved shrimp, sardines, tuna; but most of all, Buddy loved milk. He would meep for yogurt, ice cream, half and half. Anything we ate with milk in it would find Buddy sitting at our elbow nudging us gently to remind us to leave a bit for him.

Buddy was the most accepting of any animal I brought home. He was the best greeter we ever had. He would just look at me as if to say, "OK, it can stay, just remember who was here first!"

There are many more memories of Buddy that I will share at some point. But for now, these are enough.

All one needs to know is that we were blessed for over 20 years by unconditional love. Buddy was a rare creature; nonjudgmental, loving, peaceful, kind and calm. I would be quite a person if I were half as noble as Buddy Love...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sad news

Dear all,
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you the news. Today we had to euthanize Buddy Love, age 22, our oldest, sweetest cat. We got Buddy as many of you know our first year of marriage when we lived in Brooklyn.

Buddy got to travel a lot more than most cats. He lived a summer in Charleston on Folly Beach, stopped briefly in Durham NC, traveled to KY and Pennsylvania. He spent time at Cedar Hill retreat and loved it.
Buddy had a great life and a peaceful death. We weren't expecting it to be this soon or sudden.
His kidneys started failing and we began fluid treatments. They made him more comfortable at the end of his life.

Last night he began a rapid decline. In my heart I knew what it meant. This morning, Bob and I took our little Buddy Love on his last road trip. He went peacefully surrounded by love and prayers.

He is going to be cremated with his beloved scarf. He took his scarf with him everywhere and it seems only right that it should go with him now. My Mum in law made the scarf for me, but Buddy claimed it and loved it fiercely.

If you ever met Buddy then you have seen unconditional love in action. I ask that you all remember his life with joy and love. He was a blessing to us for almost 22 years and I am ever grateful for the lessons he taught me.

Love and peace to all.